THIS WEEK: Five Reasons to Give Thanks!
When’s the last time you’ve been to church?
Do you miss it?
I hope you say, “Yes!” CoVid precautions have encouraged us to stay home or given us pause to go out in public. Going to church has been affected as well.
Being able to sit in your PJ’s on a Sunday morning and “attend” church might be becoming the “norm” or at least a comfortable second to coming in person.
Content and teaching can be delivered via the internet. But one thing is missing…a very important aspect of a church family.
The Apostle Paul understood.
Yesterday’s devotion mentioned Paul’s shipwreck on the island of Malta. He and the crew wintered there for three months. Finally, they were able to complete the last part of their journey and arrived in Rome. Read what happens:
Acts 28:11 After three months we put out to sea in a ship that had wintered in the island. It was an Alexandrian ship with the figurehead of the twin gods Castor and Pollux. 12 We put in at Syracuse and stayed there three days. 13 From there we set sail and arrived at Rhegium. The next day the south wind came up, and on the following day we reached Puteoli. 14 There we found some brothers who invited us to spend a week with them. And so we came to Rome. 15 The brothers there had heard that we were coming, and they traveled as far as the Forum of Appius and the Three Taverns to meet us. At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.
Here’s a link to see a map of these places. (https://bibleatlas.org/full/three_taverns.htm).
It appears that Paul disembarks the ship in Puteoli. In the port city they find some fellow Christians who invited Luke and Paul to stay with them (remember he’s still under guard). They stayed a week and then traveled north on the Appian Way (a Roman ‘highway’) north to Rome. Word had gotten to the Christians in Rome and so they traveled south and met Paul enroute near the Forum of Appius (same ruler after which the Appian Way was named) and the Three Taverns. (Great place to meet friends…right? Actually it can also be translated the “Three Shops”…let’s go with Taverns!)
The location didn’t matter. The people did.
“At the sight of these men Paul thanked God and was encouraged.”
In a strange area and land, under guard of a Roman centurion, seeing brothers in the faith of Jesus was exactly what Paul needed. They encouraged him. It doesn’t say how, but perhaps it was one or more of these reasons:
- Perhaps he was encouraged to know others were holding firm in the faith, even while he was in chains.
- Perhaps the brothers shared the reminder that God had a purpose and plan for Paul, even when it might be hard to see.
- Perhaps the Christian friends asked if Paul needed anything and offered to help fill physical needs, as they came up.
We have missed during CoVid the blessings of getting together. The writer to the Hebrews wrote, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23-25).
Online worship is a great blessing…however, I miss seeing everyone on a Sunday morning. There is nothing more valuable than seeing and interacting and being encouraged by your brothers and sisters in Christ. Give thanks for these fellow Christians! Look forward to seeing them again soon!
Apply: Who is a brother and sister in Christ that brings you encouragement? Perhaps take time this Thanksgiving week to reach out to them and let them know how valuable their presence and encouragement is to you.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for fellow Christians who know the right time to show up and speak to give my heart encouragement. AMEN.